PKR Sabah wants to decide on its own before GE14

Lajim (seated centre) and PKR leaders attending the course.

Lajim (seated centre) and PKR leaders attending the course.

KOTA KINABALU: Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) must grant autonomy to its leaders in Sabah before the 14th general election.

The party’s central leadership must ‘walk the talk’ and ensure that the autonomy as stated in the party’s constitution is implemented before the opposition forms the government, said Sabah PKR Chief Datuk Seri Panglima Lajim Ukin.

This means political autonomy has to be implemented now and this involves deciding the candidates as well as the constituencies Sabah PKR is contesting in without any interference by the central leadership, said Lajim.

“Let us decide the halatuju of the state, so the issue of PKR being a Peninsular based party does not arise because we have autonomy. And if this cannot be implemented and shown to Sabahans, then this will be a big problem for PKR.

“I hope this will be a reality. I have mentioned this to the central leadership numerous times and it is up to them how to respond to this. If they do not fulfil, I cannot guarantee success for the party.

“They must show Sabahans that they walk the talk and the autonomy promised is not only on paper. Not fulfilling them will result in negative impact for the party in the state,” the Klias assemblyman said, adding that this is clearly stated in Article 5.8 of the Constitution.

Speaking to reporters after officiating a ‘Training the Trainer’ course, the Sabah Opposition Chief stressed that with political autonomy Sabah PKR functions as a local party not a Peninsular Malaysia based party.

He added that the party’s central leadership must understand the needs at the state level and one of them is to diffuse the sentiment of the rakyat about supporting Peninsular Malaysia based parties.

“Because we are in PKR, people say that we are in a Peninsular Malaysia based party and this is what the local parties are saying in order to make the rakyat not support us. But even though PKR is a Peninsular Malaysia based party, we are still very vocal about issues affecting the state.

“We can say what we want to the central leadership without fear. It is our responsibility to voice out all the opinions and needs of Sabahans and I therefore urge the PKR leadership to ensure that the autonomy as stated in the party’s constitution is implemented before we form the government,” he stressed.

Meanwhile when asked to comment on speculations that because of the ‘Sabah for Sabahan sentiment’, he will ditch PKR for a Sabah-based party, Lajim said that he is still championing the rights of Sabah and its people no matter which party he is in.

“And if PKR and Pakatan Harapan grants autonomy to Sabah leaders, there is no issue about Sabah and its people getting their rights. But if there is still much interference or when some leaders feel threatened when we are vocal, then there is no point,” he said.

“But I am championing the rights of Sabah and Sabahans whether I am in PKR or any other parties because the rights of Sabahans must be protected,” Lajim added.

According to him, he told the 35 participants of the course that it will not be easy to topple Barisan Nasional as it will be like going against an elephant.

“We do not have sufficient machinery unlike BN which has various including government machinery. Our hope is the rakyat and if they accept our policy, they will reject BN but if we cannot offer them a policy that brings about huge impact, we will not get the rakyat’s support.

“So speculation about (me joining) the new party is farfetched, I am the chief here why do I want to become the second of third in command? No lah,” Lajim said.

Commenting about the proposed new state seats that is expected to be tabled in the State Assembly Sitting next week, Lajim said he has yet to receive information as to where the proposed seats will be.

He has not received the notice on the Bill from the State Assembly.

“As the Opposition chief, I hope that the new seats will not only be in areas where BN can win. I hope that the government will be fair and allocate some of the new constituencies in areas where the opposition influence is strong. That way there will be a healthy ‘fight’.

“I also hope that the Election Commission will be professional in the matter and ensure that the seats are in the areas that actually need them. Do not allow gerrymandering to happen,” Lajim said.